The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded this month several contracts worth $55 million to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute for research into driver safety, including commercial truck safety, as well as automated vehicles.
According to Tom Dingus, director of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, these large awards indicate the growth of the institute and how dedicated researchers are to driver safety in the state.
The contracts are the biggest the institute ever has gotten and cover a total of five years.
The FMCSA contract will pay $30 million to study commercial truck safety. Specifically, the institute will use high tech video monitoring to study truck driver behavior, and will look into problems including fatigue and distraction.
The NHTSA contract covers $25 million in research to study several aspects of automated car and truck technology. Some of the areas that the team will study include electronic car controls, and the potential of smart cars being hacked, as well as other safety issues.
In these studies, the institute will look into various subsystems inside the cars and trucks, and they also will study how the human driver interacts with the vehicle.